- Who is an Authorised Officer?
Ans: As per Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations 2017, Authorised Officer means a person appointed as such by the Chief Executive Officer of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India by an order for the purpose of performing functions (Food Import Clearance) under section 25 of the Act. The powers and duties of Authorised Officer are mentioned under Chapter IX of Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017.
- What are the documents that may be required for Importing Food into India?
|S. No.||Document Name||Type|
|2.||Specimen copy of label||Mandatory|
|3.||End Use Declaration||Mandatory|
|4.||Bill of Entry||Mandatory|
|5.||Country of Origin Certificate||Mandatory|
|Conditional Document(s) if Applicable|
|1.||Product Approval from FSSAI||Conditional|
|2.||Form-II of Food Safety and Standards (Approval for Non-specified Food and Food Ingredients) Regulations, 2017||Conditional|
|3.||Certificate of Analysis from Country of Origin (required in case of proprietary food)||Conditional|
|4.||Commercial invoice cum packing list and Stuffing list (required in case of consignment of food or multiple foods or food falling under different categories packed in a single container or carton or pallet or skid)||Conditional|
|5.||Declaration and undertaking from importers for imported food consignment meant for Personal Use (Form 7)/100% Export and Re-export (Form 8)/ Research & Development purposes (Form 9)/ Display Purpose in Trade Fair/Exhibition (Form 10)/ Sports Events (Form 11)/ provisional NOC for frozen and chilled imported food Consignment (Form 12)/ provisional NOC for imported food consignment with less than 07 days’ shelf life (Form 13)/ provisional NOC for imported pre-packaged retail food consignment (Form 13A)/imported food consignment containing bulk packages and having representative samples (Form 14)/ imported food consignment containing bulk packages but not having representative samples (Form 15).||Conditional|
|6.||Any other document as specified from time to time.|
- How can an importer import food article?
- Bill of Entry (BOE) is filed at Customs ICE GATE (https://icegate.gov.in) on Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT). Risk based sampling called Risk Management System (RMS) is in operation at Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT).
- Risk Management System (RMS) scrutinizes the application and if the FSSAI clearance is required; the BOE is referred to FSSAI on online Food Import Clearance System (FICS).
- CHA/Importer needs to be registered on FICS (ics.fssai.gov.in).
- FSSAI accepts the BOE and may ask for further details from CHA/Importer, if necessary.
- If all the relevant information is provided, Authorized Officer (A.O) fixes appointment for the inspection of the consignment (only two opportunities are provided to the CHA/Importer to confirm the appointment).
- On inspection, if everything is found satisfactory including labelling and packaging requirements of the consignments, the samples are drawn (2 numbers batch wise) and if not, Authorised Officer rejects the consignment and issues Non-Conforming Report.
- Samples are then sent to FSSAI Notified NABL accredited Laboratory, if sample is found conforming then No Objection Certificate (NOC) is generated and if not conforming, then Non-Conforming Report (NCR) is generated, rejecting the clearance of food consignment/items.
- If Importer is not agreed with the finding of the laboratory report, he may apply for retesting of second sample at the referral laboratory. Outcome of test result will determine the fate of consignment. He may present the review application in Form 6 of FSS(Import) Regulations, 2017 to the Review Officer (Director, Imports) along with the required documents at the FSSAI Headquarter.
- The order passed by the Review Officer can be challenged before the CEO, FSSAI within 15 days whose decision thereon will be final.
- For more details, please go through FSS Act 2006, FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 and other regulations, orders, guidelines, directions, amendments made thereunder. They are available on the website i.e. fssai.gov.in
- What is the validity period of License?
Under Regulation 2.1.7 (1) of FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011, a license granted under these Regulations shall be valid and subsisting, unless otherwise specified, for a period of 1 to 5 years as chosen by the Food Business Operator, from the date of issue of license subject to remittance of fee applicable for the period and compliance with all conditions of license.
- What are the major conditions of Import license?
a) Inform Authority about any change or modification in activities /content of license.
b) The importer must file Annual Return in Form D-1as per conditions of license mentioned in FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011 and submit it to the concerned Regional Office of FSSAI (Designated Officer) on or before 31st May of each year for each class of food handled during the previous financial year.
c) Importer must apply within 30 days before the expiry of license for renewal. If not renewed, the license gets expired and the FBO has to apply afresh for a new license.
Further Details of other conditions may be obtained from FSS (Licensing and Registration) Regulations, 2011.
- Where can I find the list of banned/ restricted product in India?
The list of banned/ restricted product in India is provided by DGFT and can be obtained from DGFT website i.e. www.dgft.in. However, Food Authority may restrict product in prohibit/restrict import of any article of Food based on risk perception or outbreaks of disease, etc. and issue orders as deemed fit in this regard. The Food Authority may issue guideline(s)/order(s) as deemed necessary from time to time for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of Food imported into India
- What is visual Inspection?
As per FSS (Import) regulation 2017, “visual inspection” means the process of inspection by the authorised officer or an officer deputed by him for the purpose by which the physical condition of the food consignment, scrutiny of documents and compliance of packaging and labelling regulations are ascertained for the food safety compliance prior to drawing of samples.
- What are the labelling requirements of Imported Food Items?
Labelling requirements of Imported Food Items are mentioned under Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017, other specific FSS Regulations and other labelling requirements are mentioned in various guidelines, orders, instructions issued by FSSAI from time to time which are available on FSSAI website.
- What are the rectifiable labelling deficiencies?
As per FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017: In case of imported packaged food consignments, the following special dispensation on labelling shall be allowed for the rectifiable labelling deficiencies at the custom bound warehouse by affixing a single non detachable sticker or by any other non-detachable method next to the principle display panel without altering or masking the original label information in any manner namely:―
(a) Name and address of the importer;
(b) Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s Logo and license number,
(c) Non-Veg or Veg Logo
(d) Category or sub category along with generic name, nature and composition for proprietary food
FSSAI vide order dated 22.05.2018 (available on FSSAI website) has also allowed following special dispensation on labelling with stipulated conditions for rectification at the custom bound warehouse to facilitate food imports: –
(a) Name and complete address of the manufacturer and/or packer
(b) Lot/Code/batch identification.
(c) Date of manufacture/packing
(d) Declaration regarding Food Additives Vide order no. 1-1570/FSSA/Imports/2015 dated 14th January 2019 labelling information required as per Regulation 5.12 of FSS (Alcoholic Beverages) Regulations, 2018, was allowed to be rectified for imported Alcohol consignments. Organic logo: Such product may carry a certification or quality assurance mark of one of the systems mentioned in regulation 4 in addition to the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’s organic logo.
- What is SWIFT?
Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) means the provision of single window system provided by the Customs to the importer and Custom House Agent to apply for import clearance;
- What is the Risk based random sampling?
To encourage and incentivize self-compliant importers, Custom has already implemented Risk Management System (RMS) through Custom’s ICEGATE in consultation with FSSAI based on the certain criteria like product, risk category of the food items, compliance history of the importers and country of origin etc. In case of low risk food items, 5% random selection is done provided earlier 5 consecutive consignments of the same product imported by the same importer have complied with the FSS Regulations. In case of high-risk items, if 5 consecutive consignments imported by the same importer have complied with the FSS Regulations, then only 25% of next 20 consignments of the same products imported by the same importer are sampled. Thereafter, only 5% of the future consignments of the same products imported by the same importer would be sampled even for high risk items. No manual waiver is allowed after application of RMS in ICEGATE.
- In which language, labelling particulars need to be declared?
English or Hindi in Devanagari script
- What is Shelf life?
“Shelf life” means the period between the date of manufacture and the “Best Before” or “Date of expiry” whichever is earlier as printed on the label;
- What is Balance Shelf life?
Balance shelf-life means the period between the date of import (Import General Manifest) and “Best Before” or “Date of expiry” as the case may be
- What is the shelf-life requirement of Imported Food?
The custom shall not clear any article of food unless it has a valid shelf life of not less than sixty per cent. or three months before expiry whichever is less at the time of import as per Food Safety and Standards (Food Import) Regulations, 2017.
- How many samples are collected per product during the inspection?
Two Samples (Batch Wise)
- What are the ways for payment of sampling charges for Imported food consignment?
Online payment is accepted by FSSAIs` Authorised Officers.
- What are the charges payable for Visual Inspection Fees?
- What are the charges payable to lab for testing imported food sample?
– Rs 12000/- per sample for foods for infant nutrition, infant milk food, infant formula, milk cereal based complementary foods, processed cereal based complementary foods and packaged drinking water and mineral water. – Rs 5000/- for all other food categories.
- In what instances the samples are not drawn from the consignment and a rejection report is generated during visual inspection?
In case of imported food consignments, at scrutiny stage if the document scrutiny is not satisfactory or at visual inspection stage the Authorised Officer does visual inspection of the imported food product to ascertain its compliance under Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 and if there is a noncompliance, the Authorised Officer issues a rejection report to Customs Authorities therein stating the reason(s) for refusing the drawl of sample from the imported food consignment.
- What information is given on label of sample to be sent to laboratory for analysis?
As per FSS (Import) regulations, 2017, the sealed sample of imported food, shall bear the following information on the Label: (a) code number of the sample; (b) date and place of collection; (c) quantity of sample; (d) name of articles of food and category as per Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations; (e) name and quantity of preservative added while drawing the sample, if any; (f) name and signature of the Food Importer or his Custom House Agent and; (g) name and signature of the sender with official seal. One of the sealed and labelled Food Sample shall be sent to the FSSAI notified NABL accredited primary laboratory. The second Food Sample shall be stored in appropriate conditions for retesting if the need arises.
- Is drawing of one sample out of the commingled bulk cargo of pulses, other cereals and oils is allowed?
Yes, If the cargo is homogeneous in nature and identity with multiple importers and same exporter, sampling/ testing may be done once for the entire vessel and made applicable to all importers. Sampling will be undertaken from the consignment with first Bill of Entry forwarded by SWIFT. However, individual importers may be asked to obtain NOC/NCC Bill of entry wise. The analysis report of the sample at the first port of discharge shall also remain valid at other ports of discharge provided the Authorised Officer of FSSAI reseals the remaining cargo at the first port of discharge. The Authorised Officer at the next port of discharge would ensure that the sailing time between the ports of discharge is not unreasonable and that the seal is intact before issuing the NOC for the remaining cargo.
- Can an Importer modify the end-use declaration after applying for clearance?
- In what conditions is the FSSAI NOC exempted for imported food?
In following conditions, FSSAI NOC is exempted for imported food by submitting an undertaking: S No Purpose of Import Forms/Undertaking to be given by Importer (of FSS(Import) Reg 2017)
|S. No.||Purpose of Import||Forms/Undertaking to be given by Importer (of FSS(Import) Reg 2017)|
|1.||Imported food consignment meant for personal consumption||Form – 7|
|2.||Imported food consignment meant 100% Export and Re-export||Form – 8|
|3.||Imported food consignment meant for Research & Development purposes||Form – 9|
|4.||Imported food consignment meant for Display Purpose in Trade Fair/Exhibition||Form – 10|
|5.||Imported food consignment meant Sports Events||Form – 11|
For further details with regard to conditions, please refer Chapter- IV of Food safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017.
- In what conditions, provisional NOCs can be granted to an imported food consignment?
The FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 under Clause 9 (3) provides for issuance of Provisional NOC in respect of the following articles of imported food:
|1||Imported fresh fruits & Vegetables, which are perishable in nature with shelf life of less than 7 days.||Form 13|
|2||Imported food items which require special storage conditions (refrigerated conditions like frozen or chilled food products).||Form 12|
|3||Imported pre-packaged retails food products||Form 13 A|
- Is cleaning and sorting at Customs Bonded warehouse is allowed to improve the quality of food grains including pulse consignments?
Yes, an opportunity can be granted on the request of the importer to improve the quality of the imported food grains by removing foreign matter, mineral matter and damaged grains subject to the condition that cleaning/sorting of the food grains will be done by the importer strictly under the supervision of the Customs in customs bonded area to make the consignment conforming to the standards prescribed under FSS (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011. NOC will be given by the Authorized Officer, FSSAI, if the sample of the cleaned and sorted product is found to be conforming to the standards.
- Can an Importer get a refund of the fee paid for sample analysis, if samples are not drawn?
- In which laboratories, imported food samples are sent by FSSAI`s notified NABL accredited primary laboratories. FSSAI for analysis?
FSSAI`s notified NABL accredited primary laboratories.
- Whether Importer can apply for retest if the sample is found Non-Conforming to the FSS Regulations by the primary laboratory?
Yes, importer can apply for retest within fifteen days of receipt of the non-conformance report of primary laboratory.
- In which laboratories samples are sent for retest by FSSAI?
Referral laboratories as notified from time to time by FSSAI
- Whether Importer can collect the referral sample after obtaining NOC?
- Do importer gets the copies of Tests reports of all the samples whether granted NOC or NCR?
- Are duty free shops at airports are outside the scope of FSSAI?
- Whether import of nutraceuticals/ health supplements is allowed in India?
Import of nutraceuticals/ health supplements is allowed as per Food Safety and Standards (Food or Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016
- Is there a need for Importer or their representatives to visit the FSSAI Office?
- Where importer can clarify the doubts pertaining to procedure of importing food in India?
Six offices i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Tuticorin and Cochin and FSSAI HQs at Delhi help in clarifying queries pertaining to procedure of importing food in India. Address of the officials are given in Table-1available in question no. 37 section.
- Where can importer clarify their technical queries which he wants to clarify before importing any food consignment?
FSSAI has its Authorised Officers at six locations and their complete addresses including emails are given below for clarifying technical queries
- Which imported food items are considered as High Risk in RMS implemented in ICEGATE?
With implementation of Risk Management system (RMS) by Customs in consultation with FSSAI, the high-risk food items considered in case of import into India are as follows:
- Meat and Meat products
- Fish & Fish Products
- Egg & Egg Product
- Milk powders
- Condensed Milk
- Milk Cereal Base Weaning Foods
- Infant Milk Food
- Infant Formulae
- Fats in any form except edible vegetable oil
- Cocoa butter equivalent or Substitutes
39. What is Two-Tier Review mechanism?
The concerned importer aggrieved by the decision of the Authorized Officer may file a review application in Form-6 provided in FSS (Import) Regulations, to the Director in-charge of Imports- Review Officer at FSSAI Headquarter within fifteen days of his consignment have been rejected by the AO. The review application should be accompanied by a fee of Rs. 2000/-. The review application is examined by the First Committee comprising of experts under the Chairmanship of Director in-charge of Imports- Review Officer and the decision is communicated to both the importer/CHA &Authorized officer.
In case the importer is not satisfied with the order passed by the First Committee, then he can challenge the said decision before the CEO, FSSAI by making a second review application in Form- 6 provided in FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 within 15 days of communication of decision of the First Committee. While making the second appeal, the importer has to deposit a fee of Rs. 5000/-. The second review application is then examined by the Apex Committee comprising of Senior Officers of FSSAI under the Chairmanship of CEO and the decision is communicated to both the importer/CHA & Authorized officer. The decision of the Apex Committee is final.
- What is unclaimed article of food?
“unclaimed article of food” means an imported articles of food consignment not having a claimant or bill of entry or both up to thirty days after unloading;
- What is un-cleared article of food?
“un-cleared article of food” means an imported articles of food consignment of which the delivery is not taken by the importer within the period of thirty days on receipt of no objection certificate from the food authority;
- How are Uncleared and Unclaimed Article of Food treated?
As per Chapter-XIII of FSS (Import) Regulation, 2017:
(1) The Authorised Officer shall follow the procedure of inspection, sampling, testing and clearance laid down under these regulations, for disposal of all cases of uncleared or unclaimed articles of food.
(2) The Authorised Officer shall, on receipt of request made by the Custodian and after ensuring that the requisite fee has been paid, issue either a no objection certificate or non-conformance report after assessing the safety of uncleared or unclaimed food consignment based on inspection and laboratory analysis.
- Who issues mandatory destruction order and why?
Based on the findings and recommendations in non- conformance report of the laboratory analysis and subsequent confirmation from the referral laboratory, if contamination or presence of microbiological organisms in imported food item is likely to pose a significant risk to public health, the Authorised Officer, with the prior approval of the Food Authority shall pass mandatory destruction order in FORM- 5 of FSS(Import) Regulations, 2017.
- What is Food Import Rejection Alert (FIRA)?
Food Import Rejection Alert (FIRA) system has been developed for capturing non-compliances of all imported food product consignments. The details of the consignment wise rejections are available at any time for public view.